GameStop Toyota and Joey Logano Earn Hard-Fought Top-Five Finish at Charlotte Motor Speedway Sometimes, races just fall into place for teams and drivers. That was not the case for Joey Logano and the No. 20 GameStop Toyota on Friday night at ...
GameStop Toyota and Joey Logano Earn Hard-Fought Top-Five Finish at Charlotte Motor Speedway
Sometimes, races just fall into place for teams and drivers. That was not the case for Joey Logano and the No. 20 GameStop Toyota on Friday night at Charlotte Motor Speedway in the NASCAR Nationwide Series. Logano had to work hard en route to earning a fourth-place finish in the Dollar General 300. The fourth-place finish was Logano's 12th top-five finish of the 2010 season. It also marked Joey's second top-five finish in races featuring the NASCAR Nationwide Series "new car."
Logano started the day by qualifying the No. 20 GameStop Toyota in the fourth position for the late-night race. And when the race started, the tone of the night was set. Starting on the outside lane, Logano quickly moved up to second and ran in the top three early. However, a number of early cautions saw Logano consistently start on the inside lane, which proved a deterrent all night long. When starting on the inside, Logano and several other drivers regularly lost several positions all night long.
Following the first round of pit stop, Logano found himself a solid top-five car. Finally, following a mid-race caution, Logano was able to take the lead for the first time on lap 86. By leading laps, Logano has now found himself out front in 16 of the 22 events he's competed in this season. Unfortunately, Logano didn't hold the lead for long, losing it to Joe Gibbs Racing teammate Kyle Busch several laps later and settled into third position.
Great work by the GameStop pit crew all night kept Logano in contention, getting him out quickly each and every stop. However, consistently starting on the inside lane and fighting to regain lost positions forced the team to use up their equipment a little earlier then they hoped.
During the final segment of the race, Logano fell back as far as sixth following a late-race restart, but was able to use a good handling long-run car to pick up a couple of more spots, crossing the line in the fourth position.
Joey Logano Thoughts:
"We had a really good GameStop Toyota tonight. It was the best car we've had in the four new car races this year for sure. We've still got a little bit of work to do to catch to a couple of the other teams, but we really made some leaps and bounds over the last new car races we've run. I think all of the testing we've been doing helped with that. The pit crew did a great job tonight and gained us a few positions. We made some good adjustments, but we just needed a little bit more.
"Starting on the inside lane really hurt all night long. You could stay with the car on the outside of you, but it was rare that you were going to be able to make a complete pass. It was really only going to happen if you got a heck of a push from the guy behind you, and even then it was a little tough. The top lane was the place to be for sure, and you saw that a lot on the restarts. The guys up top would often make up three or four positions. We found ourselves always running in a spot that would put us inside on a restart, and that is deflating. Sometimes, you actually wanted to let someone go just so you could start on the outside if a caution came out.
"All in all, it was a good night. We just need a little bit more, but we were right there. That makes me feel good about going into next year. Now, we just need to win a couple more races in the current car before the season is over."
"We had a good bounce back from what was kind of a disappointing week last weekend in California. The guys really worked hard, and we had a pretty good car. The pit crew did a great job tonight, and it showed by gaining positions on a couple of stops. We just didn't find ourselves in the right places at the right times. I think there late in the race, if we would have started on the outside lane on those late restarts, we would have had a shot to win the race. But you can't do anything about that. You are fighting for positions and if you are third or fifth when the cautions comes out, then you have to play the cards you are dealt.
"The guys really worked hard all week long getting this new car to where we got it. We just needed to make a few more adjustments, but we were close. Joey said that handle of the car was good; we just needed a little more speed. Overall, I think we are happy with where we ended. Obviously, we want to win the race and be in contention. But we made a lot of strides with the new car tonight and I think with a little more work and a little more testing, we'll have our new car program in the same position that we are now with the current cars."